Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Reuben Farwell to Walt Whitman, 21 November 1864

Date: November 21, 1864

Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Drum Beats: Walt Whitman's Civil War Boy Lovers, ed. Charley Shively (San Francisco, California: Gay Sunshine Press, 1989), 139-140. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Location: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00376

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Vanessa Steinroetter, Kathryn Kruger, Eric Conrad, and Nick Krauter





Kind Uncle & Friend

Yours came to me on Friday last much sooner than I1 expected

Because my being so negligent of course I supposed you would act the same to me

Last week I was sick so that the house was obliged to hold me very tight It is kind of a curious thing for me. I can not go out in to the open air with out taking cold

Perhaps you will call at Armory Square when in Washington. I have been thinking about going there this winter to wile a way some of these lonesome days

My Folks have some objections to my going where I have been so often for the last three years. But there is nothing like geting used to a thing or too

The least stormy weather here drives us in to the house—But the rainyest night on Picket in Virginia we had to stand any how. Even a snow storme or too we have had here then I thought about being by the side of a snug fire all curdleed up in a little heap half froze to death

A good warme bed a fellow gets at home besides other fixens throwed in. I hardly evr thought of these when I Enlisted & perhaps I may try the self same opperations again. This is a curious world to live & sport in There will be no Young ladies after this war closes.

Because they are a fraid some of the loved ones will come home crippled & they will Marry while they think about it Mostly of the Softer Sex will be old Maids waiting so long. I presume some of them are tired

Yes I will tell her all about you one of these times & that before she is Married which wont be a great while. Well Uncle I hope this may find you still alive & well

My best respects To you, My Uncle
Adieu till next time


Notes:

1. "Little Mitch," or Reuben Farwell, served with the Michigan Cavalry during the war and met Whitman in Armory Square Hospital early in 1864, and upon his release from the hospital he corresponded with him. After Farwell received his discharge on August 24, 1864, he returned to his home in Plymouth, Michigan. Evidently the correspondence was renewed when Whitman sent a post card on February 5, 1875. On March 5, 1875, Farwell, who owned a farm in Michigan, wrote: "Walt my dear old Friend how I would like to grasp your hand and give you a kiss as I did in the days of yore. what a satisfaction it would be to me." In Farwell's last letter, on August 16, 1875, he said that he was planning to leave shortly for California. Eleven letters from Farwell are in the Trent Collection at Duke University. He is also mentioned in Whitman's Memoranda During War; Richard Maurice Bucke, ed., The Complete Writings of Walt Whitman [New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1902], 4:134. The year is confirmed by the reference to Farwell's letter of March 5, 1875 (Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library). (For Farwell's correspondence with Whitman see April 30, 1864, May 5, 1864, May 10, 1864, June 8, 1864, June 16, 1864, and November 7, 1864.) [back]


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